Area of expertise: Science
Client: Fitzpatrick Referrals
Project: The Bionic Vet
Fitzpatrick Referrals is a state-of-the-art veterinary referral practice, specialising in the diagnosis, neuro-orthopaedic surgery and rehabilitation of small animals. At the head of the clinic is pioneering veterinary surgeon Dr Noel Fitzpatrick.
Firebird had developed an overall PR strategy for Fitzpatrick Referrals. However, with only two weeks’ notice from BBC schedulers about the broadcast date for The Bionic Vet documentary series, we had a very short timeframe in which to execute a media campaign to promote the TV programme and ground-breaking veterinary treatment of Oscar the cat, one of the stars of the first episode.
Building on foundations established during an earlier PR campaign about Dr Fitzpatrick's revolutionary treatment of an American bulldog with bone cancer, and drawing on their strong network of contacts including the science media, Firebird organised a press conference at the Surrey-based practice. Journalists were invited to attend a preview screening of the documentary and were given the opportunity to interview Dr Fitzpatrick and the crew from independent production company Wild Productions, as well as see Oscar in action with his artificial paws.
In addition to managing the press conference, Firebird actively pursued specialist veterinary and small animal consumer press, as well as broadcast media, securing national and international interviews on location and in recording studios with talk shows and news programmes.
To date the campaign has generated 72 items of print and broadcast coverage in the UK and has reached 85 countries globally. It was covered extensively in the national UK press, appearing in The Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian, Daily Mail, Daily Express, Daily Mirror, The Sun, Metro and The Week. Broadcast highlights included: BBC World Service; BBC Newsround; Channel 5 News; ITV This Morning; Radio 4 Midweek; 5 Live Richard Bacon Show; France 3 30 Million Friends; NBC News America; ABC News America; Fox News America; ABC Radio Australia Mornings; 60 Minutes Australia; and Press Association and Reuters newswires. Specialist veterinary and small animal consumer press coverage included: Your Cat, Cat Fancy America, Veterinary Times, Veterinary Nurse Times, La Semaine Veterinaire France and The Veterinarian Australia. Hundreds of websites and regional newspapers around the world featured the story.
On the day of the launch, the campaign generated nearly 2,000 unique visitors to the practice's website. During the following week there were over 1.3 million views of YouTube clips featuring Oscar and 2.2 million viewers to episode one of the TV series.
The campaign continues to sustain the interest of the public and media worldwide, with over 25,000 unique visitors to the website and interview requests still flooding in over 5 weeks since Oscar's story went to press and The Bionic Vet went on air.